At Clarence Park for Carshalton Athletic, the first of the "return" games which confirms that the season is at its half-way point. 1-1 at their place as I remember, a twice taken penalty, missed by Nic McDonnell and then scored by Mark Graham gave City the lead. McDonnell is in the Robins starting line-up today having left City a month ago.
For today, Steve Castle selected Lee Richards in goal, a new signing from Barking and East Ham United, City's 8th keeper of the season; 4 at the back: Gledhill, Baldwin, Brown and Jones; 4 in the middle: Deacon, Oxby, Thomas and Oakes; and up front: De Souza and Tomlinson. On the bench: Murray, Richards, Seeby, Attwood and Jackman. In the stand, injured: Wraight, Smith and Campbell. On loan at Cambridge City: Simon Martin.
This was a very strange one. Saints went a goal down after 4 minutes when Marvell beat the off-side trap and coolly chipped Richards and then, for the rest of the half, City played some of their best football of the past couple of months. Keeping the ball on the ground and playing through the midfield with Oxby and Deacon looking the part, City pressed but a combination of stout defence by the visitors and poor final balls prevented the strikers from forcing a save of note by the Robins keeper. H.T. 0-1.
Within moments of the re-start, Richards made an excellent save at full-stretch from Danny Bolt and for the next 20 minutes it was more of the same from The Saints. Good football and, surely a goal would come. On 70 minutes, it did. At the wrong end. The full back found space 25 yards out and hit a fierce shot past Richards. 0-2. The result was beyond doubt 10 minutes later when, from a similar position, Bolt hit a screamer which gave Richards no chance.
As injury time approached, the visitors added a fourth when, after clever interplay on the right, a short cross was flicked past Richards at the near post by Boateng. 0-4. F.T.
The second consecutive 4-0 defeat at Clarence Park which, I am told has never happened before in the history of The Club. And City played some very good football for an hour of the game. Carshalton are a good, well-organised and hard-working side who deserved the points today but not by 4-0. There were plus points for Saints today but, I suspect, it will be difficult to take many after that score-line. 5 points from the last 21 is not nearly good enough.
The attendance was 268, and that's not good enough either.
Entertainment 5/10. Technical Merit 5/10. Referee 4/10. Atmosphere 3/10.
Next up. At home on Tuesday evening to replay Hoddesdon Town in the Herts Senior Cup and away at Ford United next Saturday. Back at Clarence Park on Boxing Day for the Ducks in a 1 o/clock kick-off. In the meanwhile a very Merry Christmas from all of the production team here at Webbo Towers.
Report by Homer